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by Nigel M Smith
July 22, 2013 1:40 PM
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Actor Dennis Farina Dead at 69

Dennis Farina in New York City. Photo by Nigel M. Smith/indieWIRE.
Veteran character actor Dennis Farina, best known for playing his fair share of weathered tough guys in films like "Out of Sight," "Get Shorty," "Midnight Run," has died at age 69, his publicist confirmed today. A former Chicago police officer, Farina is best known to most for his portrayal of Detective Joe Fontana in NBC's long-running drama series "Law & Order."

Long relegated to supporting roles, Farina experienced a late career breakthrough in 2011 with the release of Joe Maggio's solemn character study "The Last Rites of Joe May," starring Farina as the titular short-money hustler clinging to the belief that he has a future in the game. In an interview with Indiewire, Farina said of the role, "Every character I’ve enjoyed doing, but this was another kind of character. Everybody likes to do that. Switch it up."

Following that acclaimed turn, Farina continued his great run on the small screen by starring opposite Dustin Hoffman in Michael Mann's ill-fated HBO show "Luck," and as Nick Miller's father in the Fox's hit comedy show "New Girl."

A cause of death has yet to be announced. Go here for our interview with the late actor.

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14 Comments

  • Stephanie Striegel | July 23, 2013 6:59 PMReply

    Thank you Indiewire for your coverage. I produced The Last Rites of Joe May and it was an honor and a privilege to work with him and be his friend. He was a consummate professional, with a very warm heart, a generous spirit, and a wonderful sense of humor. Losing him is a huge loss for all of us. RIP Mr. Farina

  • thememorium | July 23, 2013 12:58 AMReply

    Our thoughts and prayers go out to Dennis Farina. He was a great actor. RIP #Jimmy Serrano #JoeFontanta #RayBonesBarboni Made an online memorial in your honor: thememorium.com/Memorials/dennis-farina

  • Mike Mansfield | July 22, 2013 9:43 PMReply

    I Had the pleasure of working with Dennis Farina back in 1993 on a movie of the week in Reno,Nevada.He was one of the nicest, professional actors you would want to meet.Weall knew he had served on the Chicago police force starting back in the sixties and i beleive retiring in 93.I had the good fortune as aProd. Runner of being able to take him around town.We had some really nice conversations about a lot of subjects.He seemed interested in me and wheather or not the film biz was going to work out for me,being so competetive and all.Just a class act all the way around.If half the actors today had his character there would be a lot of really good actors walking around.He was nice to the entire crew .Always entered the room cheerful, and conducted himself in a professional manner.Thank You, Dennis Farina Hollywood and our Country has loss someone really Decent.

  • Chris | July 22, 2013 9:30 PMReply

    He played a great mob-boss villain in one of my favorite movies of all time, "Midnight Run".
    Very talented character actor.

  • Lunchy | July 22, 2013 8:22 PMReply

    Is he going to be okay?

  • DTK404 | July 22, 2013 7:41 PMReply

    Always loved seeing him in films. Great talent.

  • The Ritty | July 22, 2013 6:56 PMReply

    the man who said "Barney Miller" was the most realistic cop show ever put on television is gone...RIP Jack Crawford.

  • aaron wills | July 22, 2013 4:21 PMReply

    Dennis was one of a kind. He will be missed. Still remember watching him in "Crime Story" years ago. One of the best cop shows ever and his lead role was just brilliant.

  • Faustiel | July 22, 2013 3:28 PMReply

    anything to declare?
    "Yeah, dont go to England"
    RIP Dennis your rapier wit and great comic timing will be sorely missed

  • spassky | July 22, 2013 3:11 PMReply

    "Michael Mann's ill-fated HBO show "Lucky,""

    The show is LUCK

  • Todd | July 23, 2013 12:05 PM

    Who gives a crap, a good actor and a better man is dead, and you're haggling about the name of a tv show!

  • ryden | July 22, 2013 3:10 PMReply

    nice research there. just for the record, the ill-fated tv show you mentioned was titled "Luck" not "Lucky"

  • Nigel | July 22, 2013 3:31 PM

    Thanks. The error's been corrected.

  • JACK | July 22, 2013 3:02 PMReply

    He did things "The Chicago Way" in a good way.